A Change for the Better

Image of a juggler juggling baby bottles, skillet, alarm clocks, and sauce pans on a blue field labeled "Life is a Juggling Act."

It’s been a long time since my last progress report, so I thought perhaps those who aren’t in my reader group and don’t get my monthly e-letters might appreciate one. Don’t worry, Reading Rebels, this isn’t merely a rehash of what you’ve already read. In this report, I’m sharing why I chose a new planning method and how that’s going for me. 


For a very long time, I used intentions instead of goals or resolutions, We often miss a goal through lack of follow-through or life interuptus. And science has shown that we break most resolutions. But an intention is a focus. When using intentions and life stymies your plans, you can take care of that event or disturbance, with the intention of return to your primary plan as soon as possible. No broken resolutions. No ruined goals. Every morning begins with a renewed intention.

This is a helpful method if you’re the person who constantly beats herself up for not accomplishing what she wanted to because of other responsibilities or life events that disrupt her plans. That was me. However, now that I’m moving out of my periods of caregiver, then grief, I needed a new system. I needed a system that not only motivated me, but helped me organize and prioritize all the pieces of my life. 

The Kanban Board

I was unfamiliar with the Kanban Board method of project management until about a year ago. 

For those who need an introduction, it is a project management method developed for projects that required a team to complete it. With each part of the team (large or small) responsible for only a part of the total project, there needed to be a way to communicate responsibilities, progress, evaluation of procedures, and ways to improve the process.

The Kanban Board is one way to do that. A supervisor starts a Kanban Board by making a detailed list of the work components necessary to complete a project. That list is further broken down into the tasks required to create each component. Individual teams, or team members, take responsibility to finish a component and other members assemble the components into the finished project. In business, they color-code for urgency and deadlines. There are regular meetings to discuss accomplishments, delays or disruptions, goals and timelines to be evaluated, and planning for any necessary adjustments. 

How does this work for a writer? 

In June 2023, I watched my first video by Sarra Cannon. Sarra had adapted the Kanban Board method for her writing businesses and life. She has videos on YouTube for self-learners, and she has classes for those who need more guidance, fine tuning, or motivation. I learned a lot from Sarra.

Putting the New Method in Motion

I had already divided my lists of tasks into four major buckets or categories: making, managing, marketing, and home. That made Sarra’s digital method the easiest place to start. So I started testing her method using one of her digital template offered on her site.

I’m great at listing and accomplishing tasks. So that part of the digital method worked for me. But when I stepped away from the computer or focused on the single task that was on my screen, I lost focus on the other work and wasn’t completing project despite all the task work. 

So I decided I needed a physical Kanban Board. I hung a magnetic whiteboard in my office, directly across from my desk. 

My KanBan Board Journey

I started very simple. With the days of the week across the top of the board, I made long lists of tasks to be completed each day.

I didn’t accomplish very many of those tasks. So I adjusted my expectations (multiple times!) to a more realistic level of one or two large tasks and two to four smaller tasks per day. That worked better.

My board is more complex now, but it also encompasses more of my life now. And that works for me. 

What’s on My Board

Photograph of my magnetic white board hanging vertically with the rows  or areas labeled as described in the text.
Names have been redacted to protect the innocent. 🙂

The top row is a reminder of my priorities in business and at home. (It takes for granted that family comes first.)

The second row is my word for the year: Intention. And an inspirational phrase. These past few weeks that phrase has been: There is no failure if I learn.

The third row are my big goals for the month.

The four row makes columns for each of the days of the week so I can plan.

Then I create sticky notes for each of my tasks I need done to complete each project. The tasks I must do (like scheduled appointments) for each day get put up first. Then I work out my time and how many additional tasks I think I can do. 

When I finish as task, that sticky note gets moved to the bottom of the board. 

First Quarter 2024


The first draft of And When I Wake, the Fellowship Dystopia Book 3, reached chapter 39. 

I’ve published eighteen posts on my website and four on the Writers In the Storm Blog.

I wrote and sent the Reading Rebels News, my monthly letter to my reader group, four times.


Reviewing my accomplishments for the 2023 year helped me identify areas that are working well and areas when I can improve. 

Bold Journey Magazine interviewed me.

I gathered all business tax information and filed my taxes. 

I completed several online courses intended to help me better manage my business.  

My reading mojo came back! I finished reading 10 books this month with two more to be completed soon. 


I updated the blurbs (also known as book descriptions) for my books. 

The team at Miblart and I tweaked the covers for all my books and bookmarks. 

Thanks to Karin Gasteich, author, owner, entrepreneur, my books are available on consignment at the Parkville Coffee Cafe and Rosterie in Parkville, Missouri. 

Members of the Reading Rebels helped my first Free Book promotion (at the beginning of this month) be a much bigger success than I’d imagined. (Thank you again!)

My wonderful team at MiBlart worked with me to create my new logo. It now graces my website, emails, and business cards. 


As always, family and the activities of daily living require a lot of attention. I happily lavished attention on my son, daughter-in-law, and grandsons. Not so happily, I spent time finishing up my personal taxes.

My Yorkies sometimes make extra work, but they make up for it in snuggles and scritches and love. 

Sadly, I’m still remodeling the interior of my house. I severely underestimated how much time and energy the different projects would take. However, I am on the home stretch. Repairs are done, walls and woodwork in the final two rooms and hallway are being prepped for painting. Now I just need a second 24 hours in my day. 

My Review

Before, I had a long list of tasks in each category. That task-focused thinking did not help me prioritize in order to complete projects. Nor did I understand how long different tasks took me.

It didn’t take long to realize this modified Kanban Board method helped me in several ways.

Not only am I accomplishing tasks, moving a sticky note down to “done” gives my sense of accomplishment a much-needed boost. 

I am able keep my longer-term goals in mind for every planning session, every week, and every day. Plus, I have a visual reminder of my week at a glance. 

All of that allows me to prioritize my projects and understand how long tasks take, which allows me to plan my week better. Better planning leads to more tasks completed, which creates a greater sense of accomplishment.

I can easily adjust my schedule when something unexpected happens. Have a power outage? That’s okay. Instead of freaking out how my plan has been wrecked, I rearrange my sticky notes to get tasks done that don’t require power. When the power comes back on, my sticky notes tell me I need to double my words on certain days to meet my goal. With the other tasks out of the way, that revised goal becomes doable. 

I now have a second “planning” board. On this board I keep all the tasks, appointments, and events I have coming up. Plus, I make sticky notes for future long-term projects. This allows me to keep all these things in mind and add or subtract projects without losing track of them.

Moving Forward

The next three months will be about finishing my two biggest projects. I’ll finish the first draft of And When I Wake and I’ll finish painting the walls. Hopefully, my son will have time to help me move the rest of my furniture back in. I’m excited about getting the house done because that will allow me more time to create stories. 

Of course, I have other projects and tasks in progress. I plan on writing more. Reading more. Learning more.So I’m using sticky notes at an amazing rate. But that’s okay. The KanBan Board is helping me stay on course. All those notes will translate into more completed projects soon. 

I hope your projects are progressing in a way that makes you happy. 

Ask your questions about writing, the KanBan Board method, or about creativity in the comments. 

Image Credits:

Top image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

Second photo by Lynette M. Burrows

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